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tv   Book Discussion on The Modi Effect  CSPAN  May 2, 2015 11:00pm-12:31am EDT

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ty and how much it is still with us and reflect on that in the kinds of things michelle obama's talking about and discussing and trying to change it. >> host: a life, about the first lady from childhood through the white house, the book is "after words." thank you so much for being with us. >> guest: thank you so much for having me. great questions. it was fun to talk about it. >> host: great to talk about it. good luck. >> that was "after words" booktv's signature program in which authors of the latest nonfiction books are interviewed bybye bye journalists and public policymakers and others familiar with the material. "after words" airs every weekend on booktv at 10:00 p.m. on saturday, 12 and 9:00 p.m. on sunday and 12:00 a.m. on monday. and you can also watch "after words" on line. go to and click on "after words" in the booktv series and topics list on the upper right side of the page.
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lance price talks about the election of indian prime minister noranda modi and his plans for the country. mr. price was given exclusive access to modi and his top advisers for the book next on booktv. [inaudible conversations] >> good afternoon everyone. my name is michael coble man. good afternoon. i'm the senior associate for south asia with the wilson center's asia program. thank you for coming to today's discussion about narendra modi and the election that brought him to power.
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both "the modi effect" and lesser selection made branches to debate. "the modi effect" is an accomplished opiate controversial politician and while he is gotten tremendous attention since becoming prime minister last year there is much we don't know about him especially because he has given relatively few interviews. as for the election was the largest and longest in india's history comprising 800 million eligible voters occurring over a five-week period that began about one year ago. our discussion today will revolve around a new book on modi and the election campaign that is generated a fair amount of those. "the modi effect" inside narendra modi's campaign to transform india.
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the book is significant part based on interviews that the author had with modi and his top campaign advisers. lance price was given exclusive access to speak with him. we are very fortunate to have lance price with us today who will talk about the book and its ideas in detail. lance is a writer and political commentator who reports reiterate from london for the cbs news show up-to-the-minute. he is also journalists at the bbc and he also has been media adviser to british prime ministers tony blair. the format will be essentially as follows. first i will post a series of questions to lance and we will have a conversation for 20 or 25 minutes or so. we will give an opportunity to our commentator to offer some brief reactions. many of you in the room know
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him. he is the u.s. correspondent for the hindu when it's hot india's top english-language newspapers. he has a ph.d. from lse and has written a book on poverty in india. finally before we get started i just wanted to note that for those of you who would like to live tweet us at and we encourage that and those of you in this room are those of you watching on live web stream please use the hashtag modi. with that let's go ahead and get started. lance we will start with a question is more about you and about modi. you were given exclusive access to interview three and his advisers and you were told he would have the freedom to write the story is you found him. he is not granted all that many extended interviews about himself and the campaign so the question is why do you think modi granted you foreign
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journalists have had no major prior connections to him with his exclusive access in this privilege to talk to him and interview him and tell the story? >> thank you michael and thanks for the introduction. as a question that i was asked when i was in delhi recently for the publication and one of the first questions that all the indian journalist asked was why you would not ask lexi hasn't made himself available to indian journalist. as as i detail in the book he didn't make himself available to indian journalist much during the campaign either which is something we can perhaps talk about later on and the way in which he related to the media about his own perspective. why me? i don't have a definitive answer to that question. i think there are two bits of thinking in his own mind in one around him. one was that he wanted someone
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from outside of india to do a book because they felt although clearly it'd been a huge event in india generally it hadn't been widely recognized outside of the country. i followed it turns up late to the media but i was very conscious that certainly in britain you have your elections here in the states every single tiny happenstance is covered in the british media. it's ridiculous. he was an election the largest democracy in the world. warmer british colony somewhere where we have strong links and lots of indian people living in britain. and i got a little coverage here and there but not very much. i think they felt that they would like their campaign which they were proud of to be recognized outside of india with
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some of the triumphs and campaigns that we talk about more regularly. i think the other reason was that i came after with a relatively fresh pair of eyes. most people in india and you will know better than me most people have made up their minds. either they are very much in favor of him are very much against him. i think they wanted to his someone to come and can be more unbiased about it. although he knew i came from a different political introduction. i worked for tony blair and i've been at the centerleft politics. he is happy to be described as a right-wing politician hindu nationalists. some people describe him in and less flattering terms as you well know. perhaps the last ingredient that helps me set the security interview was that he had read one of the diary site published about working for layer
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government at the highest level so i guess those three factors came together to give me the opportunity. >> tell us a bit about your impressions of modi starting with your very first initial impressions. you lay this out in the first two pages of the book but talk a bit about what you thought of him after that and then also not just initial impressions that the impressions that informed as you talk more and more. in addition the interviews that you had with modi were about the campaign, about the election but they also as i recall from the book word covering other things as well. take a few minutes to tell us about some of the things he seemed to like to talk about the most of what he seemed to avoid to talk about, specifically did he open up at all on the issue of the riots in 2002 and for the
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sake of our audience in washington did he offer any thoughts about the united states and about his view of u.s.-india relationship's? >> well i found meeting him i don't want to brag but i have met a few prime ministers and presidents in the course of my career. having worked with player i have obviously been in the company of some interesting people including bill clinton here in washington. so i'm not fazed by meeting prime minister's. he is an extraordinary man and it very very enigmatic man. office has spent five hours with them altogether in terms of interviews and i have seen him since the book came out. throughout all of that time i was meeting so. the politician, modi but man he was presenting himself talking about his campaign answering my
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questions with varying degrees of brightness depending on what it was. i don't think at the end of all that time i can tell you much about modi the man. i'm not sure how many people get to meet modi demand. he is a 24/7 politician like no other that i've ever encountered. he works from five up in the morning and he told me he wakes up at 5 in the morning and then for five minutes is connected to the internet and reading the latest news. he works all the way through until he goes to bed usually at midnight. he never takes a day off, never takes a vacation. he doesn't have a wife. he doesn't watch sports doesn't watch television or part of sports games. he just works and i expressed some surprise at that because our politicians like their vacations. they need to relax and have their family time in order to deal with the pressures and so on. one indian fred and said to me
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remember in india a lot of people have to work from the second they wake up until the moment they go to bed and he is like many indians in that respect. but the one area in his personal life that he talked about was that he sets aside time for spiritual activities every day for meditation which is clearly very important. sometimes there is quite high tension like when the election results are coming in. the media in india were reporting that he was at home watching on television television. that wasn't true at all. he had the door shut and they staff were told they were not to disturb him. he was intercepted and meditating and doing whatever he does is part of the spiritual activities.
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very reluctant to talk about family, personal stuff. there was one occasion during the election campaign, a huge rally when bombs went off in six people were killed. he decided it should go ahead anyway despite his own staff and security people all saying he should cancel. he said i have a duty to do this and i'm going to go ahead. it occurred to me while he was telling the story may be if you had a wife and family you would have thought more about first the security. it was the one time during the whole time during the polls he didn't have an immediate answer ready. he said after a few seconds how can i answer that question? i don't know. another few seconds and he said but i do have a mother that you have brothers. he's very uncomfortable about
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opening up personally in that respect. the riots and the terrible attack on the train and the riots that followed in 2002 was one area that is i rather expected because obviously i've read in the experiences of interviewing him and so on was one area that it goes down very quickly. he has talked about in the past and i cover it i hope sufficiently in the book. most of that is from what he said previously. to me he just said, basically is that i've said enough about that. you can read the report that was put together by the investigation team in india. you can read the conclusions and that's all i have to say. it was pretty clear i wasn't going to get any further with that. so i said that was fair enough. i didn't say was my job to reinvestigate. i was there to write a book about the campaign but i had to
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explain in detail for people outside of india who weren't so familiar with what happened but also it had some impact on the campaign. it had an impact on him its candidate and whether not he was a controversial candidate. that was one area. on america he was remarkably forgiving if that is the right word. i think diplomatically it's fair to say that the united states was fairly slow to read met him to the fold compared to my country britain nor the european union or some of the other countries around the world. he just said i didn't allow it to affect munich is allowed to affect my ego. it was pretty clear he wanted to have the relationship to use that famous word reset and he
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wanted to do the head. i spoke to him after he had been here with a huge reception in madison square garden in central park and speaking here in washington as well. visiting the present and so on and so forth. it meant a lot to him principally because he needs he's not that -- and what you think of him as a politician but he recognized in any of the united states is going to achieve particularly the economic goals that he has set for his country. ..
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when i think about hallow grams i think of michael jackson at the billboard music awards as a hologram and not indian politicians. if you could talk about this motion how he was able to reach more offer the indian people than had ever been done before in an election, particularly in terms of how the campaign was structured and the tools that were used, that allowed him to reach so many people. >> one of the interesting things about the campaign, i think is that it was both very old fashioned and very modern, and the old fashioned pit was the rallies, and i think in america certainly in britain, people are
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very reluctant to go to public meetings anymore. the board voter doesn't get engaged with public meetings. that was politics of the mid-20th century more than it is today. and he revived that. i think that is starting to happen in india as well. people not engaged in politics and modi took his road show out and they flocked to him to see him. he was michael jackson on tour. and with or without the hologram. and 0 so that was interesting actually. that some of the old fashioned style of politics has been revitalized by his campaign and another aspect of the campaign which never occurred to me, wasn't deployed in india until this campaign, was going out and knocking on people's doors. we think doorstep political work
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is the key to success in a lot of tightly fought races and so it is. and whereas even in parts of india it seems the tradition of going and knocking on people's doors and saying, will you vote for us, and then make sure they have wasn't something that had been particularly familiar. so something kind of old fashioned to us. they seemed to have come to rather late but which modi did use to great effect with the help of the rss people are familiar with the rss and his own party workers to make that very effective. the other side of it was a very, very modern campaign. so he looked at obama's online campaign look at online campaigning in britain and australia and elsewhere and he actually thought we can do better than that. i think he did do better than that. i say that because he allowed the -- allowed social media to do what it does boss, which is -- he didn't try to control it. and we have a british election
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just got underway back home, which i'm about to go back and start commenting on and covering. every day on my phone i get messages tweets, i get texts and so on, from the main parties and i press the delete button as soon as they appear. i know full well they're just an extension of the crucial party propaganda i have already seen and already read and they're boring. in india it wasn't boring. it was lively and interesting. he managed to throw out stories that kept going kept the debate going and this ecosystem the bit of the ecosystem looking after social media wasn't really being -- there's a bit of it being done by the bjp put a lot was done by people never been involved in politics before. young kids who were enthewed by the whole thing. a lot of the enthused by modi and what he was saying and also just enthuses by being part of this and being given the opportunity to show what they
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could do. and it's interesting that gandhi who is 20 years younger than modi was offered the same sort of thing and by some outside entrepreneurs who went to him first. thought he is a young guy might be prime minister. gandhi said no. politics in india isn't done like that. and modi took completely different view. even though internet penetration in india is not as extensive as it is here, it's growing all the time. a lot of kids have got smartphones and even if not everybody could get access to what was being said on social media, word of mouth did the rest. so if younger people were picking up stuff on social mode ya. that's go home to villages and towns and tell everybody else. and it spread. so he very, very effectively in my view, used social media and also used social media
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brilliantly to more or less force the traditional media to dance to his tune. and i was a spin doctor for tony blair. communications director for the labour party to put it more formally. even with a good candidate to get the media to do it -- tell the story your way. modes diwas remarkably successful in get think mainstream media to tell the story his way partly by rationing his vault to them. he didn't do sit-down tv interviews until very late in the campaign-didn't give them to the english-speaking media until actually most people already voted. he said to them, i'm going to set the agenda, you're not. you can write about what i say at my rallies what i tweet put on social media but if you want to talk to me youngs have to wait until i'm ready for you. that was surprisingly effective. so good old fashioned doorstep
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campaigning on the road, and just quickly on the holograms for those who aren't familiar, it's an enormous country and it's impossible for anyone to decide around to all of it. but there were parts described as dark villages and most people don't have television, don't have access to the media in some sense that urban areas would do. and not across the spire country. that would have been impossible. but in electorally significant areas, in the big states he would send out trucks, massive flat back trucks with satellite equipment, generators and everything necessary in order to beam himself live into the market square on hologram, and he would be back home at hickam pain headquarters, and up to 100 different places simultaneously would see him and he would
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answer questions from these places as well. and they used to -- they even set up a little fan because -- for a start just having this guy beam bead -- just something out of "star trek." imagine what an electrifying impact that would have in many places. but they set up a huge fan so his hair would move because they thought people wouldn't -- it was too static when they did rehearsals and thought people might not think it was the real him. >> let's fast forward to the post election environment. the book covers the election campaign and the election and also the aftermath. so the bjp moved -- modes di's party, continue to ride on its election victory momentum for a number of months after the election. won a series of key state elections. four are however in february of this year the bjb lost the eflex
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new new dehli. which campaigns on clean water clean electricity less corruption as well, and you covered this, in your back, which is impressive given this happened in february. your book was published a few weeks ago. you covered this election setback for the bjp. so the question here is, what do you think that this setback for the bjp and this new dehli state election tells us about the bj and its strategy? does its suggest that despite all the fancy hocus-pocus and technology you have describe, that at the end of the day it is the issues, particularly bread and butter issues that will ultimately carry the day and carry votes in other lex campaigns. do you -- in election campaigns. is that the case or a case of the bjp getting come place send or something else. >> a bit of both. more the former than the latter.
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i think there was a up to of complacencies in that the bjp and the master mind, thought that modi, modi, moldy everywhere would be enough. if you remember in the general election they won every single seat in delhi and less than a year later they won three out of 70 seats in the state assembly, and it was an astonishing setback, and to be fair, bjp vote didn't collapse. the anti -- congress did collapse and the votes went to the aap party. which helped. and that principally i think it was, that and as we know in our countries, national elects and local elections are different things and you have to have a local election on local issues,
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and and i and understanding is that aap had a good manifestly -- leader was focused on specific issues, had a very good ground campaign, and threw everything at it from the moment the general election is over they were focusing on delhi. and what is the nearest parallel? it was -- probably obama losing teddy kennedy's seat. you think you have it wrapped up and suddenly discover you haven't. >> sure. final question. i'll pose to you. there have been several other books written on the 2014 election campaign in india including several of the exclusive interviews with modi, and one made quiet a splash, called "2014 the election that changed india." a title similar to your book. written bay very prominent
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indian journalist, who you interview in your book. so what would you say distinguishes you book from his book other then fact you obviously -- the authors are different. one isn't one of indian, one is not. how would you describe -- do they compliment each other? >> i hope they compliment each oomph my publisher would like me to say well, it's because and i had the exclusive access, which he is one of the leading anchors in india didn't. and his was a very personal look at the campaign itself. he was out on the road and i wasn't during the campaign. it's a great book and i quote from it in mine and i'm very happy to by tribute to what think is an excellent book limps book just on modes di. it was on the whole of campaign so tries to give equal balance to the congress pham campaign and other almosts of the campaign which i didn't do. mine was unashamedly pretty much
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exclusively about the modi campaign. i talk about the congress campaign and other individuals to try to see how it impacted how modes diresponded and in particular how modi was successful on turning attacks on him to his advantage and throwing them back at his opponents. but i think a very good book indeed. >> thanks. that sets the stage for an interesting discussion with the audience about i wanted to give the first word to -- to offer some response. >> thanks, michael for organizing this and having me here and congratulations again lance, an excellent book. i read it at breakneck speed over the latter past of hard week and finishing this weekend not only because i had a cascading deadlines and also because it was a completely gripping book and the reason is
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i think lance has brought to play literally what modi did in the campaign, lance has done in the book, 360-degree view of the campaign. so of course he has the unprecedented access to modi himself but go well beyond that to speak not only to other bjp party functionaries but also to senior media people, and people on the ground, like voters, just to get a sense how this campaign -- what it looked like from every angle that you could parse it from. so in that sense it is a unique book. and also i think i would definitely give lance a lot of credit for maintaining a studied and very deliberate sense of neutrality over this, as he mentioned right at the beginning, it is a subject that gets people pretty quickly
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polarized one way or the other and i say that as part of the guilty media. and while the does talk about in great detail about modi's mobilization effort, the hologram. and the sim above his macho -- his power and the way he carries things. he at the same time does say that modi's attempts to sound self-efacing are less than convincing and he at a broader policy as a microlevel doesn't shy away from talking about things like the -- and taking nuanced view of how modi performed in office since he became prime minister. and that is the other thing that is really cool about lances book. it's extremely updated. he has stuff in there about
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the -- in february and here we are at the end of march. so i think it's definitely a valuable to indians and india specialists who have been studying this. both from the unique sort of insider view you get but also extremely accessible in that lance takes the time to give you the broader context. there's quiet a lot which talks about modi's history. doesn't get into the absolute guts of what modi did although we all know that's part of the story. but he does talk about the evolution of modi and how he traveled across the country quite a lot. he gained -- his experience with dealing with different parties including the rss and his evolving relationship with all these parties over time. so in all these regardses i haven't read steve's book but i think this is a very unique book
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which is probably going to sell very well in india and i'm sure elsewhere, too. so i wanted to just make few points about -- just mention the important points. i think that lance raises in the book and then follow that up with a couple of opinions about the kind of questions that arose in my mind which i either lance can answer or it could be a subject for future research. the first interesting subject which he really tackled quite well through the book issue felt was a question that a lot of people still grapple with and that is was modi's campaign planks -- is it more about developmentallism and economic growth or was there an underlying -- were there underlying overtures towards a more hardlined festival, which links to associations and parties he has worked with and his own history with he rss and so on there are no
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simplifications made in the book. very nuanced and, for example in -- the biggest battleground for india for anyone wanting to win an indian elect, modes -- modi himself never made any sort of direct overtures to any idioms but statement you did have people who were in the context, even in the later context, there were questions raised about them and at the same time it also raises questions about what kind of strategy really did modi end up in a practical sense. one thing lance has dug into and found out about is the nomination of candidates in the bjp. that had -- it actually resembled a very practice television pattern i have seen
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down southy caste marys the whole country is hope for a new paradigm but at the village levels traditional loyalties do freedom -- freedom nate -- freedom nate in india and there was a lot in this book about how modi actually rated until the very last minute -- a master tactician and waited until the very last minute to announce the nomination of the candidates, and then in many indicates it very needly did feet into the paradigm of caste packing to maximize impact. the question of, what was the campaign about both of at as explicit level and implies sit level very nicely dovetailed throughout the book. the second thing which struck me from my own perspective is the
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very contentious relationship with the media and worked with the discomfort about the 2002 program and there's a colorful section on where he talks about modi's interview where he actually walked out of the interview mid-way and being the checky interview pressed to get him to apologize for what happened. so there's a lot of drama. again, this is why i had to finish the book fast. it will hold you. and then i think lance has to get a lot of credit for bringing a lot of the color into modi. he was this very serious politician politician who would even his yoga had to follow a. his online internet access in
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the morning. at the same time he has this colorful history. quite a folksy guy in the way that george w. bush is, want to sit down and have a beer with him, except modi done drink. a whole thing which lance talks about, the comic or mythology,ing myologyization of modi in a sense and it's an appeal to -- at the local level about modi's history and how his childhood was being idealized and there's a lot about how modi -- i think actually public relations firms and future election campaigners could learn a lot from this. many of us did follow the campaign closely but the amount of detail in the book is startling. everything about how -- towards the end of the campaign, close to the election, the bjp was
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actually very systematically planning their media presence every day and in this case, because modi didn't directly interact with the media they would also coordinate with the tweets the team was putting out the facebook posts they were putting out and they would actually create the news, and then further they would have a review how the media was happening those news items. in this sense they were like maybe in the u.k. it's -- the u.s. it's harder to do but from the book at least you get a sense that it was a certain element of completely controlling the narrative. and again as i said, lance has a lot of details about how they actually planned this entire process. and there's a lot of learning in there if you ask me for people in this space. so let me quickly move on to the questions that i had. i leave them as open questiones. lance can respond or we can discuss. the first is basically -- probably comes down to the
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limitation of time and the scope of the book. but i guess maybe a wider -- i was wondering if there was a wider sphere of journalists experts, people from other parties that could be consulted. not least from the congress. so i found firstly that, again, completely understand the subject of the book is the modi effect not the gandhi effect. but the references to the congress seemed universally negative in the sense that they were as you mentioned seen as the trigger that led to modi undertaking a certain action which is part of the narrative here. and particularly i was wondering about how this relates to the big question of how or why modi won? because congress, as we know, was in power for a whole decade, and during that time, they did
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enact a very large number of schemes, the employment guarantee scheme the education scheme, the universal i.d. scheme the national rural health mission and while they kind of sullied their own record towards the end in the whole policy paralysis lack of decisionmaking and completely then engulfed by the scams and so forth very is to me a sort of a missing element, even given modi's hyperactive approach toward -- pro-active approach towards tackling the rural mindset and moving the voters towards him. something for me is still missing, and the answer could actually still be in the book. another thing that lance very interestingly brings up is the fact that a massive amount of corporate financing happened during this election, and as he
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says at the local or constituency level the election commission of yea india requires every dollar spent to be accounted for on a pencil, notebook or diner. but at the federal level that's not the case. and sort of going to citizens unite way as in america. and so could that really have played a much bigger role than we suspect? similarly, back to the question of the -- the idiom not so much in terms of the brand of the rss, which leads to civil instability but more in terms of re-asserting india's potency. speaking to my colleague and peers, in india at the time, everyone was bemoaning how india
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had fallen lower on the world stage. we were not reaching any new frontiers, not making progress at the u.n. security council. we were not being admitted to nuclear clubs. so, i think was that a bigger factor as well? so i was left with some sort of an open question on that. the other thing that struck me throughout the narrative was the -- nuance how modi seems to appropriate a number of things in some sense is it is essential. for example one example talked about is mongolia. it was almost like modi. the speech he made in madison square garden about how it cost only seven per kilometer to get to -- but costs much more to get
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by taxi. in a sense modi appropriated that just as a lot of the existing macroeconomic scenarios have been appropriated, and in a sense, that is inevitable because as the prime minister of a country you step in, and to be fair to modi he not only inherited that but the crashing burden of the scams and the lack of investment of the reforms and he has made a lot of progress over the last one year. but i guess a sense of just -- drawing sore of a line to say this much was modi anding this much happened before would the clarified the picture. these are questions that came up to me and we can leave that to the discussion. >> thank you. lance, dead did you want to respond or go to question? >> be great to get to the discussion. just a very quick point. i think about re-asserting
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indiays potential cuts through to people who weren't interested in the ideological aspects of the parties. younger people in particular. spoke to a number of younger indians who just said, i feel proud 0 of india again. that is after seeing him either here in the states or being taken seriously on the world stage or seeing obama in delhi for the speech and so on. all politicians appropriate the successes of their predecessors, and also pocket the failure's of their predecessors against them in my country it was my party the labour party who won the london olympics and the new prime minister stood on the podium and embraced it as his gain. that is polling ticks i'm afraid. >> let's start with the questions. may seem strength because we're in a small room but please wait
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until a microphone arrives and answer your question so those listening on the web stream and via c-span can hear you question. so give your name and affiliation. >> bob haltway visiting scholar here. lance, this is a little bit unfair because you have already said you never really got a good read modi the man. i'd like both of you to see if we can tease out a little bit more. i was struck by your description of his extraordinary self-discipline. do you have any sense what made him so disciplined what is the source of this drive? is he simply the little boy who joined the rss and that's the end of the story? because you have suggested it's much more complex than that. is he a reformer?
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is he a middle class businessman? is he a hindu nationalist? an indian nationalist? there is a distinction between the? can both of you try give us a little bit better sense of why he is the man he is. >> i think some of that is personal to him. some of that cuts across -- carries coulds to other politicians. if you look at all the politics, something somebody like hillary clinton, what keeps her going? it's a phenomenal drive self-confidence, self-belief discipline hard work, all kinds of factors that some of us think we might have a little bit of, but those who get to the top or near the top have in spades. and i think that is something which probably if you're going
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to be successful in politics you have to that has part of your dna and he does have that. and the last chapter in the book is called "the indomitable will" a quote from mahatma gandhi. he says success lies in an indomitable will. the will toed and, and i don't think he ever considers failure on a option from the moment he wakes up in the morning until he goes to bed at night. and part of it was also him. he is the poor boy who made good. there are lot of kids who grow up in india poorer than modi but he wasn't well off and was bare barefoot as a kid and he made himself good. he did that through the support principally of the rss and the phenomenal way in which that organization fosters sports and
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helps people who show promise and dedication within their ranks, which is something that for outsiders like me is hard to fathom but once you come to understand it a bit it's -- you can see how that really does form -- a bit like going to the joint -- whatever you call it here has a character-building impact on individuals and how -- much more so than anything i've seen in a western country. certainly part of it. and he spoke very little about -- during the campaign, but there's nothing to suggest that he is no longer a hindu nationalist. i think he has in a sense banked politically in that he has the spurt of the people for whom that is a defining characteristic of the politician they want to support and he has moved on from it, which is why he has begin the emphasis he has on development of the economy
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and all the rest of which is he has to do to reach a wider constituency and win the election. yes, he is reformer and wants to change india in big big big ways, set very high ambitiouses -- a&m biggss for himself -- ambitions for himself and the country and raised expect additionness the way that charismatic politic does, blair did, obama did and modi will as hell and will probably face the same problems they did in term not being automobile to meet all the expectations he has raised. i think the combination of -- something he was born with and something he learned. >> i would tend to agree. and i think what really stood out for me, both in the book and from may own interaction -- id that one interaction with modi. there was actually when he was
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here in new york, there was a secret meeting with journalists and then it got leaked so i'm allowed to talk about it today there was actually -- also, part of the tale of how he has difficult relationship with the media. so there was this discussion organized with a few u.s.-based indian journalists and that was -- didn't go down well with a large contingent of india-based journalists who traveled with him and some asking why. and also very interesting event where it -- while i think at the start of it we were all very sort of gung ho to pry out of him whatever we could in terms of policy issues and other things questions we had in mind. he completely turned tables on us within minutes and it was a completely -- a discussion about personal an neck dolts about yoga and lou he traveled the
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u.s. and of course then the whole thing got leaked because it's not supposed to be reported and then we all got into trouble at the indian embassy. but again it's all out there so i'm not breaking any rules here. so i think he has -- he is a very quick learner. he evolves. that is one of the core sort of characteristics of his that i think have made him weather so many storms. i just don't mean -- he has then gone on to win the minds of so many different segments of india, and just sitting in washington even as an indian myself, it boggles the mind to think of how many different indias there are. so he has everything from the way he adopts technology to the kind of promises he has made, whether achievable or not in terms of development putting india back as a potent player on the world stage in terms of business and the willingness to tackle the hard macroeconomic
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issues. that really comes across, and i think it's a combination of his evolutionary capability, and strong intuition in terms of what is the most pressing need of the moment? very very attuned to that. that is why -- that explains that i think. >> yes, sir. >> thank you michael. lance, i think your book will be a very useful addition and -- for india -- and i'm working here in washington dc in maryland, as a visiting professor on international trade, security issues at the university of maryland, and also on climate change. it's been very interesting to listen to you and to get an idea
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not -- haven't had a chance to read the become but get an idea of contents. internationally it will go down well and having access to some of the inner workings, the dynamics of the whole process, will be extremely useful. going to become a major driver of the global economy very soon so understanding the person behind the machine is very important. now, just going down to the exact issues, what do you think should be the next step, if you can reflect a little bit? as you both mentioned there have been these very high hopes very high expectations and disappointments, already people are talking about -- how very little has been achieved, thine as you said a lot has been achieved. but the message is like not
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going through in a way that one would have expected it to go across and seems to be some sort of disconnect. there was a very great connect earlier with the entire people and said to be holograms and the media and the social media. so how do you texas -- do you think he will move from the disczech -- disconnect to the connect, and the country's population rolled into one it was dealing with tease three countries at the same time. but the dynamism he brings to the task and his commitment. you care to reflect a little bit and let us know, where do you see with your insight as a journalist also of where more down the line before the next elections are due and how modi would be at that point of time.
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>> we think of five years as being a relatively long time in political terms and policy terms it's really not. i guess he is aware of that. he must be. when i worked for tony blair in in his first term and he had a massive majority. he was conscious by the end of the wasted time of not having got started on thingses a fast as he would like to and not having enough progress to show at the end of the period. and i guess the sense that modi has tried to get the administration working the way he wants it to, or closer to the way he wants to its first. if you haven't got the machine working the way you want it to work it's not going deliver your policies. so he has interacted differently with the bureaucracy. he has given them access told them he is watching them every step of the way. that important. and he has made a start on his
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basic -- if you think of the high profile campaign commitments, he has something to point to in virtually all of the areas, but i -- the worry is that he is go at creating headlines and yet to prove he can actually deliver the -- on the ground changes to people's lives that will show those headlines meant something. and you don't have to look at the crystal ball. you can read the book. look at the way he worked. there was a lot of was done in a relatively short period of time that was genuine impact on the ground. the whole of india -- it's a much more complex country than that and he is not going to be able to do whole the whole of injury what he could do there put just wielding a broom and declaring clean india started and announcing 99% of the population has a bank account
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when actually that's meaningless because there's no money in it. can't access it realistically. and all very well having these head-line grabbing initiatives and i think it is inconceivable he will deliver on all promises in five years. he must know that. what he has to do is show sufficient progress but not just progress in terms of good headlines but progress in terms of real impact on people's lives and health care and access to sanitation and that's a hell of a big ask. we touched on corporate india previously in the discussion. he did get a lot of support from them and i think he is going back to the mound and saying, i'm going to make life easier for you. i'm going to make your country open to business again in investment and also enabling domestic indian companies to function more effect live, but in return i want to see you put in toilets in the schools want
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to see you helping with all these other ambitiouses -- ambition is brought to the country, and that will be the difference in my view between success' and failure after five years. >> what lance said, think there's a couple of ways to slice this. the first is a rapid rate of economic growth will automatically -- it will temporarily silence many of the critics, as in tact did happen during the congress government part's of the congress government's rule when he had the boom period. there was an assessment last week by saying 102016, 2017, their growth will surpass china's for the first time, and at the same time, modi -- rather other bjp states have got involved -- have gone about policies that have gone about reforms, say in the labor market which have been very difficult
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to achieve in the past, but under -- they have actually tackled some of the disputes act and so on, and that is seen as the precursor which modi is trying to build on at the national level. he has got bogged down with a number of issues such as the land acquisition bill and things like that. but again that is just one side of the story and the danger for modi and the looming horizon where people will stop giving him the rope to say we gave you a year and you have not made progress. that will happen if he done take it beyond the growth and reform agenda to provide more public welfare, things of that, and mentioned what is happening with all the other policies. they've been continued but i think modi really having said what i did about how he kind of steals the thunder he does need to steal the thunder entirely and adopt those policies and magnify them and reach out to rural indians.
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that else where the confidence of the whole country is going to come from. not just from the top-down approach. >> some questions on this sites of the room. we'll get back to you. over on this side. we'll start with the gentleman the light is blinding but the gentleman with his hand up right there. yes. >> donald camp from csis. you talked about prime minister modi's mastery of social media that has obviously continued in the governance period, for instance the invitation to president obama to republic day by twitter. does he have his own spin doctor and were you able to interview that person? and more broadly we know he has a very important powerful kitchen cabinet. what is their role in terms of the campaign and governance? >> to my astonishment he doesn't
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have a spin doctor. he doesn't have a director of communications. there is nobody in -- who bears the title as head of media or head of press or anything like that. and in a sense he is his own spin doctor. he understands the media and what works and how to influence it to remarkable degree. ...
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you can't have four hours on the line -- the clock at lunchtime certainly has been the case. he's got trust issues many of the heap brought in with him and that carries with it benefits and creates doubt -- jealousy on the outside and if you start relying on small groups of people around you. so but you have to have someone you can talk to you frankly. i think there are two or three people he can talk to really frankly and those are the people probably do know modi. >> allison bergmann with the salvation program but i was wondering in your conversations with mr. modi did he ever talk about leaders either domestic or international contemporary or historical, people that he admires?
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>> e he did. internationally not so much. he talked a little bit about the obama campaign and less about individuals. i think he is a smart diplomat not to start passing judgment on the other world leaders when he has only been in office a few months. that might be a little presumptuous of him. in terms of indian leaders he quotes mahatma gandhi frequently and spends more time denigrating the party than he does hayling them. he has a lot of respect for some of the bgp and not all of them enthusiastic about him as a candidate. one of his great heroes is patel who was the home minister and deputy prime minister for home he is building we are told the largest statue in the world which is going to be sort of
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remember how high it is? it's absolutely enormous and it's being built in poland. he was called the iron man of india and you can see he would like to be iron man two. although patel was a congressman he was a letter out a come he was a nationalist, he was hindu. he was a religious hindu and i think of all the people that he talks to mahatma gandhi and him. >> yes. >> tom timberg consultant. it's always dangerous to ask about the future but it does have an election coming up in bakar within the next year or so so. in both cases haven't a lot of
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other people learned the lesson and are now dedicated to using social media perhaps more effectively and the other specific issue is apparently having trouble with is the reaction to his proposed land acquisition. i don't know if you have any insight about how either of those fact tears may make the prior elections more difficult. >> i think i'm going to bow to greater knowledge on my left. he's much better qualified to answer all of those questions than i am. whether the other parties are learning from his success in from their failures and i think it's one of the reasons he did well in delhi. whether the congress party has learned the lessons yet they are
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taking a lengthy period of introspection before reflecting on what went wrong and who should bear responsibility for it. there was a report that came out that exonerated all the leadership and that is kind of what you expect. i say in the book if the congress party learns the lessons of this mistake it could be a force again and certainly to think that it did well and did well two weeks later that it necessarily means they will sweep the board. >> i would agree with lance. i think modi has already he has an advantage already in a sense in terms of the social media and that space. however on the ground a lot more is in flux then the state unction nares would like to believe.
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i think a lot of that is specially when it comes down to as i said very specific constituencies and who are the leaders and how do the other parties maneuver around them? i think the bjp will probably learn from the deli fiasco and i think they will try to take a little bit more off-line. that is my suspicion because the on line campaign yields a lot of results in urban centers whereas in both of these states it's much more about that and of course the qualification that lance made early on which is there's a spillover effect. a young man who travels and goes back to his village and talk to his family. that effect is still there but in fact if it doesn't learn from me delhi february experience they may be in trouble in the
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next elections. >> of course there's a big difference to the house because that's where folks from the other house come from. >> yeah. >> yes. >> i'm more hopeful about the economic program and the actions he has already taken. my name is pierced through a retired diplomat on the planning commission. he has -- could take a few days. then i know at least 30 by passing. he understands what to do about the necessary --
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and people have a fear they are coming on time and i don't know if secretaries have to check have to check him to lower levels have to check in and out. on the climate front that seems to be a sign but as a person when he came to the u.s. earlier earlier, a friend who knows modi stayed with him and he -- to changes. that person now has an extensive wardrobe.
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he had fabric specially made and the cost was thousands not rupees, dollars. also the different approach to things, he says he is serving the people and it does consult. at the same time he heads dictatorial he. he says it is because you all have given me the order. it makes me to bid working at that level.
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so these two things about his personality if you could from your conversations and others because i see a gap in what i have heard and read in madison square garden but some of these things make me wonder about some of these things if he could talk about that if you have a chance. >> there are certainly what appeared appear to be contradictions there which is part of what x. is so interesting to examine him and to look at it. just briefly on the civil servants turning up on time, i don't know what your former colleagues have told you what it's like now in delhi but apparently it's all available on line as well so there is an electronic checking in. you can go on line and see
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whether the person that planning department or whatever it is has actually turned up or work or not. so that's the purpose of sorts. the sartorial thing, is dress sense has aroused a lot of attention. "the wall street journal" and time his dress sense and whether he dresses better than michelle obama or not. to be fair to him i think if you are representing your country you want to be well turned out and it's not a bad thing to look smart but he also clearly it's very important to him and he's very proud of the fact that he dresses well and he thinks he looks good. he tells me he doesn't happen it wiser. maybe he is his own costume designer as well, don't nobody told me he had a god-given gift for looking smart and for
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knowing how to match colors and mix colors and looked after his wardrobe so perhaps it's an ability that's been handed down to him. [inaudible] >> you are absolutely right that probably that translation started i followed exactly what he was wearing everyday and i suspect that transformation happened when he was in office insure rot. you do have to be careful because when your citizens who don't have the luxury of several changes of clothes everyday see that you are wearing a watch that costs thousands of u.s. dollars in your pocket that has a very fancy brand name on it him, on level they are going to say okay he is our leader. i want him to look at and he has a right to do that. on the other hand you have to be a little bit careful about that. he often has the scarf and all
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the rest of it, providing the antidote to all of that. in terms of the democrats versus the dictator sometimes i think you have to have a dictatorial streak in you to unblock things in government. if you sit back and are too democratic about it and too happy to allow the normal processes to follow their democratic course not for -- nothing will ever get done. there are times you have to drive horses through the bureaucracy in order to make things happen and that's not an observation about india. that's an observation about politics. but again if you go too far and people start calling you at the gate are and they start to say you are anti-democratic and all the rest of it. so there is a science to politics and art to politics.
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the art is about getting the balance right in all these things. let's see how much of an artist he is. >> thank you michael. i have written a half-dozen books in india. two very short questions. have you examined the role of india and the american community in the development of his media success or explosion really and the second is did you expect this level of zigzagging in his policy towards pakistan considering that he was the chief minister of a bordering state with a disputed border and with a fair amount of industry that's within seven minutes of pakistani air attacks. >> i think actually he has been
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consistent in pakistan. there was the imitation by sharif. since then it's been a pretty traditional stand up to pakistan policy as far as i can see. i know there is a lot of pressure from outside of india for a constructive relationship with pakistan. i think he wants a constructive relationship. they are centrist and a significant part of his foreign policy. since becoming prime minister he has been focused on india's immediate neighbors although karachi hasn't been high on his list of travel plans as of yet. in terms of the community in america, i touch on it. i admit i would like to know more and i spoke to people who did put a lot of work into the campaign people who traveled
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from america just to vote because they were parties that works jim experience in obviously their money and support and some of the underlying campaigns that are exit being run from his country. that's the thing about the internet, you don't always know what people are doing in the campaign, where they physically are. it's an interesting part of the story and one that led to learn more about. >> i would like to say in response to the pakistan thing it could be that he is also biding his time because there's a reason why there's an awareness of 2016 in the drawdown and there is going to be some sort of a people in that region. in a sense you could preempt some of the risks by building a whole amount of capital at the political establishment in pakistan but there's also a counter that you build all that capital and along the durand line things start getting a little explosive maybe and the
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whole balance internally in pakistan shifts between the political and the military index index -- military capital. everyone make sure everything you can do for peace is being done but it's a bit of a crack at it again. it envies not going all out. neither is he aggressive or sang it's all about the handshakes and lets to the visits and all that. he is kind of keeping it low key. >> there's a question over here. that afternoon, joe hall from human eyes global. i have a question concerning india's foreign policy. have either of you, could you speak to maybe some change anything significant or an emphasis from modi's recent campaign in his being in the position as prime minister has there have been any significant
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shift in his foreign policy towards the middle east given the increased -- over there and specifically regarding india's reliance on the middle east for over two-thirds of its oil imports. if either of you can speak more to that. >> i don't feel particularly well qualified. [laughter] he has made statements on the middle east and he is also made clear that he is not about to tear up old alliances. he has welcomed putin enthusiastically to america. that relationship with russia remains i think important. i think the line is important and if i read a crack me. obviously he's concerned about any domestic carryover from the
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tensions in the middle east particularly concerning the muslim community at home. but in terms of a think it's probably got enough on his plate and doesn't want to get closely involved in what's going on in the middle east probably. >> i would just say there are two big key issues that india is concerned with. the first is iran the tzipi in terms of oil but also the civilizational links and the connections which we have a lot of. and i think the last two three or four years have seen some flux and pressure being existed existed -- in u.s. loan sanctions in place and we have actually turned down imports quite a lot and the current issues and things like that. so i think he wants to be very
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careful about rocking out but because as i said he doesn't want to disturb that relationship. the second question from a news perspective we followed quite a lot was whether modi would actually join the fight against isis or islamic state or whatever you call it. i think he has been very careful careful. it has some sort of a link to how the muslim population in india is affected and to be honest it is a fairly moderate population in terms of its political views and so on. by actually jumping into the fray you could be setting things on fire in that worst sense. it seems the freedom of information request to find out how many indians have been involved with isis because as you know they are recruiting around the world than depending on dod they all have barely any
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record. i think there were four who went from mumbai so given the scenario you don't want to shake things up too much. >> i am struck how modi was elected with a mandate to repair the economy. in a few months he has been in power it seems it's a much longer statement on his foreign policies. the middle east policy, moving on a very impressive relationship with the united states. kind of interesting so far but of course he's only been in power for a few months. are there any other questions from those who have not posed a question yet today? right in the back. >> i was just in india and i just returned a few days ago and i saw your book mr. lance being flashed over the media. obviously you have become pretty
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popular and i'm just wondering what is your writing background? it appears you are british by origin and how did you jump on this topic? have modi paid the web all or do you expect with propofol or what's going on here from a british guy trying to prop him up although he probably doesn't need the propping up. he does want to show some foreign support of his image although because of the recent food prices going up i guess his image has taken a hit recently and gradually maybe taking a hit. anyway we know from obama, nobody thinks anymore to change you can believe and that he promoted the first time he got elected. obviously his report is out but what really turned you on about modi?
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>> it is part of my job to prop him up. if he needs propping up these going to need somebody better than me to do it for him. that is not what it's about it all and i have done my best and whether i have succeeded to be as even-handed and balanced as it could in the book. i do say in the book that i make it clear i'm not sure you were here the beginning when i talked about how it all came about. i come from a different political tradition. i worked for tony blair and the centerleft. he is not my kind of politician and i say if i had a vote in the election in 2014 i would not have voted for narendra modi with -- so with that kind of support, with friends like me you know but having said that i just love the elections. i find elections fascinating. i get a kick out of them more than policy and more than the
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typical detail of making things happen when you are in government pre-dive of elections that i can't wait to get back into britain because we have an election underway. i can't wait until next year when you'll have a standing election here. this was an extraordinary election. that's what kept me interested the whole period and learning as much as they did. i had to turn this book around incredibly quickly. i britain for as you -- british and i've written two books on british politics and media and one novel and now this one on indian politics. i had to learn a huge amount. as a journalist, with you talk to people. you talk to lots and lots of people when you do lots of reading any start to try to put a picture together. obviously it is slanted toward modi in the sense that it's all about modi and the insights i got from speaking to him which were exclusive and therefore
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obviously worth quoting at some length. [inaudible] >> the title is not bad. i'm quite these without but the thing about the title is why is it called "the modi effect"? the campaign was extraordinary and we had talked previously about the problems the government had towards the end. i think in 2014 the conditions were right to do extraordinarily well. the election was theirs to lose which is why some people thought modi is too risky a of a candidate to go forward as a prime minister candidate. you can't rewrite history and run the election under different circumstances. my guess is that someone else had been a candidate they probably would have ended up as the largest party or lament and probably would have to form another coalition and find allies.
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modi's effect on the whole process was to take over that 272 line and give them a majority of parliament. that was something extraordinary and the way in which he goes about it is just a great story. >> a 30-second last word. >> thank you. how crucial lance since we have moved away from the aspect of the modi effect with a lot of questions around the world how do you think there will be international support particularly the u.s. supporting collaboration and the diaspora to success of not only of modi but of the country, of the economy to become an important contributor? >> absolutely vital. not so much as i said earlier politically but financially and economically.
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i had a brief conversation with him last week when i was india and presented him with a copy of the book which he was kind enough to accept. i asked him what has gone well and what are you please spell since you have become prime minister? he picked one thing which was the railways. he said in the past when we had railways policy we decided every mp wanted a branch line here in a branch line there. they wanted to sort of used what you would call poll pull power politics to determine its policy. he simply did a completely different way. what is our policy going to be and we made the decisions based on what we do with perceived to be in the best interest in the nations best interest. in terms of getting the finance he has opened it up so it's possible for there to be at raiders level of investment in foreign investment in railways and other aspects of the economy. i think personally he wasn't jumping on airplanes and having
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his photograph taken in new york and washington and japan in everywhere else because he likes jumping on airplanes. he's doing it because he wants investment in the country and that investment in turn will lead to eventually will take a while but lead to changes in peoples lives that will enable them to deliver on his promises. that is why he is a man at heart heart. >> this has been a real treat. i hope this discussion as whetted the appetite for the book. unfortunately we don't have copies to sell now but it's available. i will give you hand out outside that shows where it's available on line on amazon etc.. if you could join me with a round of applause for lance price. thank you. [applause] also for our commentator. [applause] thank you all for coming and we are adjourned. ..
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